I write a diary every year on my birthday. It sort of helps me collect the pieces from the past year, So here goes if you are foolish enough to read on. First of all why "confessions"? Well, I have rubbed so many people the wrong way here and elsewhere that once in while it pays to acknowledge ones arrogance and "chutspah". If I make it to 77 I'll be basically the same so don't expect any changes. It is just this one time a year acknowledgement. I especially say this for the folks here who quickly write off what I have to say in criticism of the President and label me an "Obama Hater". I wonder if they went after Rush for using their same tactics against someone who was critical of the war on women? No folks, if we want to serve the people and each other we don't emulate Rush and his labeling. We talk about our differences in a civil way. (What label will they come up with for that satement?) If you don't yet know me let me tell you that I have a lot to criticize the President about. George Lakoff seems to be on the same wavelength with respect to Democrats in general for allowing the conservatives to continue to help them embed their frames in the public mind. I was a leader in the 1960s-1970s movement and became a "radical" early on. I am charter member of the Democratic Socialists of America [DSA](1983) because it is the closest thing in this country to a real left organization. The word "democratic" in the name is key. Someday we might actually experience democracy in this country when the plutocracy that the democratic party colludes with the republicans to support finally collapses. The Democratic party certainly falls far short in my opinion. Read on below if you are not yet turned off and I'll tell you where I am at with respect to our current situation.
This is an election year and already we find ourselves showing the shortness of our memories when it comes to dealing with the mechanism the republicans have developed over the last three or four decades to insure that we will help them frame the debate and keep people voting with the 1% rather than with their own interests in mind. It looks like the republicans are doing masterful job with both the primaries and with their selection of a candidate. Romney is a symbol of the 1% and what it means to have done things right so you can accumulate the wealth created by working people. The debates were many and the conservative memes are already pour off the pens and lips of democrats and the press everywhere. You need to read Lakoff's essay on this if you still have not:Lakoff: The GOP Presidential Campaign Is About Guaranteeing a Radical Conservative Future for US I am happy to see a couple of diaries in the "Systems Thinking" que the deal with the framing issue and I anxiously await their publication. We need lots more on this vital issue if we are going to be effective in bringing all of the 99% together as a cohesive force.
During this last year I have come a long way in putting my life's studies and experiences into a working model of what we are into. Part of that is being incorporated into a book by Jim Coffman and I: GLOBAL INSANITY: How Homo sapiens Lost Touch with Reality while Transforming the World One chapter has already been published separately :'Of Metaphors, Metaphysics, and Math: A Mythology of Mechanisms' by James A. Coffman and Donald C. Mikulecky. Along with that I have been writing a daily series here under the heading of Reading Ramblings that has generated the expectable sparse interest from this group in an election year.
IMHO the time and effort spent on elections has an interesting and counter intuitive interpretation. It will once again sap off the time, money and energy of thousands of well meaning people who have a different view of the role of elections in the overall scheme of things from my own view. You all know what you believe so I'll tell you how I differ. I see the electoral process as a means for stabilizing the status quo and keeping any discontent among the 99% from ever reaching its full potential as a political force. I have already pointed out the unconscious but very real collusion between the two parties above. This is but the tip of the iceberg.
My philosophy or "world view" is "holistic" meaning that these ideas are stripped of a lot of meaning when viewed in isolation from all the others they are intimately connected with. The elections allow the theater that a TV watching society needs to give them the illusion that democracy is at work and that it can be entertaining, in a sense, as well. Meanwhile the system grinds on and takes even more of the fruits of people's labors from them as well as the ability of future generations having a decent life. Problems get worse rather than being dealt with and everyone seems happy enough even though they complain a lot.
The "system" is a formidable thing. It is super stable in every way we know. This has been apparent for a long time and , ironically, those who attack it end up helping stabilize it. Meanwhile it grinds on. Science and technology have been totally shaped to interact with the economic needs of the group who are sort of the ones who run things. The real meaning of "plutocracy" in my holistic sense, goes beyond the people, the "plutocrats" who seem to be in control for they are replaceable. They really are as much a component of the system as the workers and the media and the scientists and engineers and ...and...and. The system has a cognitive basis and our book and my series in "Reading ramblings" here delve into that. (The latest in the series...follow the links back if you are interested) But because there is a world view that people subscribe to that helps the system thrive does in no way imply that humans are behind all this or that they even could be. No it is much less comprehensible than that kind of simple conspiratorial causal explantion. But that is part of how I came to see it this way. My diaries here on cause are about this. Complex systems have complex causes and this is not easy for us. That's the big advantage the right has. They feed right ino our desire for quick simple answers. That may seem ridiculous, but look again. If I live to 77 we can look back and see what this all was about as the simple, direct cause explanations win out and folks can get back to TV, sex, gardens, whatever. These other things are far more interesting and much more fun.
That brings us back to me and my "confessions".
I have been so often criticized as "too serious", "arrogant", "in an ivory tower" and many other similar labels. The funny part is that from where they are hurled they are essentially correct. My life has been very rich and satisfying. I was an only child and spent a lot of time alone. I often had to "invent" ways to amuse myself. I have a burning curiosity and so many questions. That always made me a good student. In that respect I am still a child. The quest of answers is fun and I love to try to put things together after the reductionist world has ripped them apart and boxed them carefully so their interactions are no longer visible. So I confess. I want to know. I love trying to understand. I am selfish for I teach because of these reasons. Other people are part of my way of learning. Social life for me is a chance to try ideas out. You can expect that I am not much fun to be around for most folk. But it has not always been that way.
What I have never understood is the fact that when I left home at 17 to go to college in the same city, my social development was worse than retarded. Yet, in spite of that some great things happened to me. Let me explain. Without understanding the whole scenario, I was pledged by a fraternity and I accepted. (They wanted me to bring their grade averages up). You have to understand that we were working class, and without that kind of money. I had worked all through high school and my parents salted my earnings away minus a small allowance. I mindlessly opted to pay for the fraternity with that. Because I was an NROTC regular scholar, my tuition, books and fees were paid for and I got an allowance besides. Well in a few weeks they had an election among us new pledges and I was elected president of our pledge class. I do not remember why it happened nor what it entailed. But shortly afterwards there were class elections and I was elected president of my Freshman class. Then Sophomore class then Junior class. I did not run as a senior for I was already learning too much about politics even at that level. I tell you this because I have a moral and social problem I can not tolerate political corruption of any form. I have a long list of offices and organizations I have left throughout my life because of that. More than once I left the democratic party because of these matters. I think I will never go back again even though I work hard for good candidates in spite of their affiliation with a very corrupt democratic party. So as we go on talking about democracy and elections and political offices and what really serves the people in a truly democratic system realize that I came up with my rigid requirements with experiences to back them up.
So I confess to being who I am. I want radical change and each year, each moment, I understand the reason it is desperately needed more and more. Life is good. I look forward to more of it.